Other Talk "Otterville" plus Religion/Politics

What can you tell me about Tyler, Texas?

Old 05-28-05, 08:56 PM
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What can you tell me about Tyler, Texas?

My wife, my daughter, and I currenly reside in Arizona. We're about 2 hours from Phoenix, so there's not a lot of exciting things to do here. Concerts are usually too far away and too long back and forth to be worth it, but it's beautful, there's a very good mix of people. Reglious, non-religious, whites, people of color, educated, working class, and on and on. It's beautiful, school choices are very good, and it's not an expensive place to live. Not cheap, but not expensive.

But I've received a job offer in Tyler. A lot of money. The cost of living is very low, I'd go from average middle class to upper middle class, and my wife could choose to stay home more with our daughter.

But I'm told East Texas is kind of creepy. Hillbillies, Jesus freaks (not that there's anything wrong with that), and whites on top of whites. Probably not a lot of Jews either-which is what we all are.

But Tyler "looks" to be in place where it might be not that bad. I LOVE Dallas and it doesn't seem to be too far away. It's been my experience that when you aren't too far from a bigger city with more culture, that the culture bleeds out to smaller cities that are around it. I hope that's the case here. I know it's basically small town america, but is it REALLY, REALLY small town america?

Are there any Texans here who can tell me about Tyler, the stories I've heard about East Texas not being a nice place to live if you don't blend in, and anything else about Tyler? How long the drive to Dallas is without a lot of traffic? Is it far from New Orleans and the Gulf? Are there good schools, maybe even private schools there or not far away?

I plan to do my own research, but I thought this might be a good place to start.

Thanks for any help.
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Old 05-28-05, 08:59 PM
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If I remember my Playmate statistics reading correctly, Anna Nicole Smith is from Tyler.
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Old 05-28-05, 09:20 PM
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I went to High School in East Texas (Longview) in the '70s. No job could pay me enough to live there again. I'm sure some things have changed in 30 years, but the racism, climate and reading level of High School seniors were deplorable. I was able to finish my homework from previous classes while other students had to go over the same lessons over and over.
If you move there, the thing you'll miss the most is the dry desert heat.The humidity bothered me more than anything else. I hated getting out of a shower still sweating.
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Old 05-28-05, 09:24 PM
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Old 05-28-05, 09:48 PM
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It is a pretty small town. Nothing wrong with it really, just a small town. Really to far to come to Dallas on a regular basis, but once in a while. East Texas is much better then West Texas (IMHO), at least you got trees over there.
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Old 05-28-05, 10:00 PM
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It's about 120 miles from Paris.
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Old 05-28-05, 10:20 PM
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Tyler is a pretty area but I would not want to live in East Texas. My Grandparents live in Marshall and Longview and it is whole other world.
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Old 05-28-05, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct
It is a pretty small town. Nothing wrong with it really, just a small town. Really to far to come to Dallas on a regular basis, but once in a while. East Texas is much better then West Texas (IMHO), at least you got trees over there.
Do you know anything more specifically? Even from just what you've heard?

I mean, it's a 100 miles or so from Dallas, but every big city I've been too sort of stretches out at least 15-20 miles or more in all directions with surburbia. So are there larger cities between Tyler and Dallas to go to as well to meet people?

I've been up in NE Texas once driving to Hot Springs and a lot of that area of Texas looked really bad. Cities like Pittsburg, Tx...if you can call that a city.

Tyler is around 70 miles south of that and more in the direction of Dallas. But is it pretty much the same as what I saw up there or an upgrade? I'm just wondering if Tyler straddles the line between bad East Texas and and East Texas that doesn't feel cut off from the rest of the world.

I know Friday Night Lights was in West Texas, but if Tyler is pretty much that but with more trees, I don't know if we can even consider it. There are small towns that are nice and then there are small towns where the only hope among every resident is to one day leave. Which is Tyler, do you think?

The fact that I've heard of it more than once has to mean that it's not "Deliverance" bad, right?
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Old 05-28-05, 10:28 PM
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Here is a good starting point - Tyler, TX
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Old 05-28-05, 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Max Bottomtime
I went to High School in East Texas (Longview) in the '70s. No job could pay me enough to live there again. I'm sure some things have changed in 30 years, but the racism, climate and reading level of High School seniors were deplorable. I was able to finish my homework from previous classes while other students had to go over the same lessons over and over.
If you move there, the thing you'll miss the most is the dry desert heat.The humidity bothered me more than anything else. I hated getting out of a shower still sweating.
I lived in Michigan until my college years and in the desert for most of the last 15 years, so if humidity is the worst part of Tyler, Texas-we can make the adjustment. As beautiful as it is here, the summer is brutal and lasts too long and we have no real seasons. Just summer and summer light.

Longview is further east and smaller than Tyler, hopefully there's enough difference between the two to justify seriously looking into this and making a trip out there to see it with my own eyes.
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Old 05-28-05, 11:14 PM
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i grew up about 40 minutes outside of tyler....i spent plenty of time there. Its a nice town....however i did move away... there is next to no night life in Tyler. nice botanical garden, and the zoo is cool. Dallas is about a two hour drive, and shreveport is two hours the other way.

Its not white on white exactly. Plenty of hispanic immigrants, and tyler has a large population of african americans. I only have known a hanful of jewish people who lived in East Texas...No Hillbillies...no hills at that...flat as a board. This isn't Mayberry...far from it. some culture, and nice places to visit.

If your wanting to catch up on East Texas when you get there i suggest.

Canton is inbetween and is a great place to visit for the first monday trade days...lots of great stuff to see and buy.

Right next door in Edgewood (hometown and a very small town) they have a historical park that is worth seeing. Cabins and historical monuments....right up the road from that....

Wills Point has the oldest movie theater in Texas....it was the first theater to run a talkie in Texas, and one of the very first in the country. It has been family owned and operated since it was started. Not the best sound, and it has run down, but nostalgia for movie fans (I assume you are one since you frequent this site.)

Kilgore...check out the oil museum...its less than 20 minutes from tyler, and the town still has many of the old oil derricks standing. it is a perfect snapshot of Texas and Oil.

Marshall at the holidays....great parade of lights through the downtown area, and a ice rink and carriage rides....nice place, but stay away outside the holidays.

Its a long ways from New Orleans and the Gulf....10 hours to Corpus...yikes....

It is a nice town, and has all the bells and whistles with a shopping mall, chain coffe, and everything you expect from a mid size town....
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Old 05-28-05, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by dolphinboy
I know Friday Night Lights was in West Texas, but if Tyler is pretty much that but with more trees, I don't know if we can even consider it. There are small towns that are nice and then there are small towns where the only hope among every resident is to one day leave. Which is Tyler, do you think?
Pretty funny, West Texas and East Texas are totally different. West Texas (including Midland/Odessa where Friday Night Lights was) is basically a desert much like Arizona and New Mexico. East Texas is not. As mentioned there are trees, more humidity, etc.

Other then the other small towns mentioned earlier there is nothing between Tyler and Dallas. The Garland/Mesquite area is the eastern suburb of Dallas and there is a lot there now, but I wouldn't say you would want to come all the way over for them.

If it is that major of a promotion won't your job allow a house hunting trip or something?
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Old 05-29-05, 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by The_Infidel
If I remember my Playmate statistics reading correctly, Anna Nicole Smith is from Tyler.
I thought she was from Mexia (and born in Houston).
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Old 05-29-05, 01:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Sdallnct

If it is that major of a promotion won't your job allow a house hunting trip or something?
I could go there, but if I seriously consider this, I need to bring my wife. That would involve getting our daughter set up with her grandparents and my wife getting time off and I just need a general sense before making those kinds of plans.

I am trying to find out if Tyler is really like the sticks or just a small/medium town like anywhere else. I'm not trying to insult anyone, heck, I've never been there, but you hear a lot of bad things about Texas in general, but even more than usual about East Texas for some reason. Kind of similar things that you hear about Alabama. I've lived in San Luis Obispo and, while not comparing the people, it had a very small feel to it. Yet, SLO has population of around 250,000 (85% white, I didn't notice it was the bad) and Tyler has only 80,000. Yet in SLO, there was no mall. You needed to go to Santa Maria. But I was very happy there. I actually don't mind small towns at all, it's more like what kind of small town is it.

Yet, I mentioned I've driven through some of the cities on the way from Dallas to Hot Springs and they really didn't look good at all. You know, does Tyler even have suburbs or just some average houses, cabins and trailer parks? House hunting in Tucson would be very laborious with all kinds of subtle choices. Is there like one modern suburban neighborhood in Tyler?

Would the change from Tucson's size to Tyler's size be HUGE or just moderate or even minor? That's the kind of thing I need to look into more, before I take my wife to go looking for houses and looking at schools. If there is a private school there it would be great. If not, is Dallas the only bigger city anywhere close that might have a good private school for our daughter.

I have friends who make less than I've been offered, who have really nice homes in Troy, Michigan and Royal Oak, Michigan and Auburn Hills, Mi. And there are plenty of other nice places they could choose. All of those cities have really fancy neighborhoods where the wealthy people live, medium neighborhoods where upper to lower middle class people live, below average neighborhoods where you find the people that don't have a lot but get by, and then there are a few areas that are truly dumpy.

I'm getting the impression that Tyler isn't going to have that kind of variety, but then Cameron posted and kind of was the first person to give a pretty good impression of Tyler. I'm just wondering what it compares to maybe.

We would find ways to get to Dallas as often as possible. I LOVE that city and, even growing up in Michigan, I was a Cowboys fan before I could even throw a football. I was just asking about New Orleans and The Gulf to see if they were close enough to be long road trips. I could see making that drive for the beach, but if it's 10 hours to New Orleans, we'd probably still have to fly. I've been to almost everywhere I've wanted to go in the US, but New Orleans, LA is one that's high up (with anywhere in Alaska) that I've never been to. I was hoping it was a bit closer.

I just found this and it made me feel a bit better:

Tyler placed No. 3 on a list of smaller metropolitan areas in the Forbes/Milken Institute 96-city list of Best Small Places for Businesses and Careers, according to information from the entities' Web sites Monday.

The Rose City beat every small metropolitan area - defined by Forbes/Milken as less than 177,000 population - in Texas, and it placed No. 44 on the entire list of 296 cities, which included 200 larger metropolitan areas of greater than 177,000 population and 96 smaller ones. It ranked No. 10 in Texas cities on the 296-city list.

Tom Mullins, Tyler Economic Development Council president and chief executive officer, credited growth in the technology industry for keeping Tyler in a respectable place in the rankings.

Tyler first broke into the top 50 cities a few years ago, and the progress in the rankings means the city's technology sector has been constantly growing, he said. Mullins said he believes Cox Communications' Customer Care Center will increase Tyler's role as a high-tech center.

"We continue to have growth with our software and Internet companies, and even Classic (Communications), which is undergoing some reorganization right now, has continued to hire people," Mullins said.

The Milken Institute counted biotechnology jobs at the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler, he said. Also, the University of Texas at Tyler engineering and technology departments are involved in high technology, and the institute took that into account when it formulated the rankings.

"We have a lot of the fundamental mechanisms that are necessary to grow these technology jobs," Mullins said.

According to information from the Forbes/Milken list, the overall city ranking was determined by a sum of rankings within nine categories.

Five job and salary categories measured overall economic activity and the Milken Institute gave these categories full weight. Four high-tech categories reflected activity in "important technology sectors that we believe are the primary drivers of economic growth," a methodology statement on the Web site said. The institute gave these categories half weight.

Forbes/Milken Best Small Metro Areas
For Businesses And Careers

1) Las Cruces, N.M.

2) Iowa City, Iowa

3) TYLER, TEXAS

4) Punta Gorda, Fla.

5) Sioux Falls, S.D.

6) Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

7) Bryan-College Station

8) Pocatello, Idaho

9) Lawrence, Kan.

10) Rochester, Minn.
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Old 05-29-05, 01:34 AM
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yeah, anna nicole was from mexia. as for tyler, i will talk about it a bit seeing as how i am there just about every day.

i live outside of longview but drive back and forth to tyler because i am working on a master's degree. tyler is about 80K people and it's less than 2 hrs drive on the interstate. not too bad of a distance to drive to things like mavs games or plays, etc. east texas is definitely and interesting place. i grew up here and then i moved to waco for 9 years to go to baylor and teach before i moved back. it still is taking some getting used to. the people here are generally friendly, but their attitudes are a bit different than what i am used to. i have no problem with the patriotic, religious crowd (that's me, although maybe not as overt as most of the people here), but the population can be a bit too "redneck" for my tastes. and now you may be asking, then why do i live here? the reason is because my entire family lives here and i want to be in the same area.

longview and tyler are definitely the biggest towns between dallas and the LA border in east texas. everything else is varying degrees of smaller. i would echo what cameron said too.

edit: i just read your latest post and wanted to respond. i think that tyler is just about like any other midsize metro city. they have a good zoo, movie theaters, mall, chain stores, etc. there seems to be lots of housing of varying levels and different schools from small schools in surrounding towns to large schools in tyler itself. and while above it may seem like i was ragging the people, they just take a little getting used to. overall, the people are pretty good, it just takes awhile to get used to them.

Last edited by kevin75; 05-29-05 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 05-29-05, 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by BigDan
I thought she was from Mexia (and born in Houston).
You may be right. I probably heard about Tyler in reference to someone else.
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Old 05-29-05, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by kevin75
yeah, anna nicole was from mexia. as for tyler, i will talk about it a bit seeing as how i am there just about every day.
but the population can be a bit too "redneck" for my tastes. and now you may be asking, then why do i live here? the reason is because my entire family lives here and i want to be in the same area.

longview and tyler are definitely the biggest towns between dallas and the LA border in east texas. everything else is varying degrees of smaller. i would echo what cameron said too.
Cameron made it sound nice, you made it sound redneck.

The redneck thing concerns me, because we're really not used to it.

Everything being about the bible is a worry for us too. We're both liberal. We don't smoke pot or swap partners, but we don't mind other people doing it. Tucson is not overly liberal and Arizona is a red state, but Texas is really RED and east Texas, I've heard, is Fire Engine Red.
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Old 05-29-05, 02:03 AM
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its a pretty red place...but its not full of slack jawed yocals... will you get a knock on the door every once in a while from a kid trying to raise money for a mission trip? Yes. Will they burn crosses in your front yard? No.

You may want to take the trip before deciding. Again, I have not known many Jewish people in the area, and it may be hard to practice your faith...not that anyone would try to stop you, or convert you...but I am not sure their are many places for you to worship.

if you do take the trip...go on a first monday weekend and take that short drive to canton...its a blast

more fun east Texas trivia for movie fans...

Maurice Barrymore the father of John, Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, and great grandfather to Drew... came into prominence after being shot 3 times and lived to see the trial of his shooter (and murderer of his friend) in Marshall TX. it began the launch of the great Barrymore namesake in the american cinema. Read More on this The train depot and Hotel Marshall still stand. I actually worked on a music video for Don Henley at the train station a few years back.

Last edited by Cameron; 05-29-05 at 02:08 AM.
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Old 05-29-05, 02:09 AM
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Tyer is just a small, Texas town, nothing fancy but nothing horrible. It's rather cozy, actually. It's about 1.5 hours from downtown Dallas, assuming light traffic and you keep up with traffic.

One of the partner's in my mom's law firm has a ranch out there which I've been to a few times. It's very nice, very pretty. I'd imagine it is similar to where the OP is, now. It's far enough away from Dallas to be in the country but it's a decent sized town and not completley out in the sticks.

As far as racist bible thumpers go, you have to go to far East Texas/far western Lousiana (like, Marshall, TX) to encounter any of them.
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Old 05-29-05, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by shaun3000
Tyer is just a small, Texas town, nothing fancy but nothing horrible. It's rather cozy, actually. It's about 1.5 hours from downtown Dallas, assuming light traffic and you keep up with traffic.

One of the partner's in my mom's law firm has a ranch out there which I've been to a few times. It's very nice, very pretty. I'd imagine it is similar to where the OP is, now. It's far enough away from Dallas to be in the country but it's a decent sized town and not completley out in the sticks.

As far as racist bible thumpers go, you have to go to far East Texas/far western Lousiana (like, Marshall, TX) to encounter any of them.
I just remembered that I once visited an old friend in Pittsburg, TX which was on another one of my trips to Hot Springs and this place was just like everything that my worst fears of Tyler are and what you seem to be describing in Marshall. Are you familiar with Pittsburg and is that kind of what you mean with Marshall and something that Tyler is not like?

I can't believe I didn't remember that place, because it's a good reference of exactly what I'm most afraid of. That article made me feel better, but I still didn't know what to think.

If I continue to do more research and get more positive feedback like yours and Cameron's, I might just have to fly into Dallas and check it out soon. We're in our mid-30's and plan on having only one more child. We only need to have some other liberal to semi-liberal friends and at least some nice places to eat and see movies and not have everyone talking to us about Jesus and bible group. Everything Pittsburg was, is what I am hoping Tyler is not. Pittsburg seemed very much like the "sticks" and it seems like your saying Tyler is small but not "sticks" small and away from it all.
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Old 05-29-05, 02:44 AM
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it's nothing like Pittsburg...ease your mind
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Old 05-29-05, 02:56 AM
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My friend grew up there. Not much to do, but not a bad place to live. There was a big find of old and rare film reels there awhile back. I believe it was a Negro Director's lost work. I saw something on PBS/NPR about it.
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Old 05-29-05, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by pedagogue
My friend grew up there. Not much to do, but not a bad place to live. There was a big find of old and rare film reels there awhile back. I believe it was a Negro Director's lost work. I saw something on PBS/NPR about it.
i want more info on this one...
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Old 05-29-05, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Cameron
it's nothing like Pittsburg...ease your mind
If Pittsburg was an "F" and anywhere on a beach in Hawaii was an "A+" what would Tyler be?

So you are saying it's more like a city, the people are slightly diverse, not married to blood relatives, own homes that are not only one wheels, and have some of their teeth?

Seriously, Pittsburg was one scary place. I don't believe in any other drive that I made between Dallas and Hot Springs, which went up that way, that I ever stopped the car again.

It's only 60 miles away, but you're saying it's a world of difference?

Thanks for your help by the way. It's going to be a family decision, meaning my wife will decide if she thinks the pay increase and ability for her to be home more is worth the change, but now we are really leaning towards making plans to fly out there. My wife has a way of simplifying issues that I complicate. In her opinion, she likes the idea of getting a free trip to Dallas. It will just be a bonus if she likes Tyler. The thunderstorms and tornado warnings will be something to get used to again. I had a good deal of that in Michigan, but Texas is worse and my wife has never had it. Only the monsoons, but I tell her the thunderstorms out that way are much worse and she doesn't believe me. The weather there must be pretty good on average, I'm guessing.

I hope there are at least a few Jews in the area, though.
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Old 05-29-05, 04:57 AM
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I can't speak for Tyler, Texas, but I've heard that towns in the South can be a bit of a culture shock for some. A friend of mine, who is a fairly conservative Christian moved to Tallahassee, FL (Lower Georgia), and realized he was a California Liberal pretty quickly.
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